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 was invited to occupy a friend's pulpit at Alcester. While preaching, a low, dull, jarring roll, as of continuous thunder, sounded in his ears. It was the cannon-fire of Edgehill, the prelude to the stern battle-piece of revolution. On the morrow, Baxter hurried to the scene of action. ‘I was desirous,’ he says, ‘to see the field. I found the Earl of Essex keeping the ground, and the King's army facing them on a hill about a mile off. There were about a thousand dead bodies in the field between them.’ Turning from this ghastly survey, the preacher mingled with the Parliamentary army, when, finding the surgeons busy with the wounded, he very naturally sought occasion for the exercise of his own vocation as a spiritual practitioner. He attached himself to the army. So far as we can gather from his own memoirs and the testimony of his contemporaries, he was not influenced to this step by any of the political motives which actuated the Parliamentary leaders. He was no revolutionist. He was as blind and unquestioning in his reverence for the King's person and divine right, and as hearty in his hatred of religious toleration and civil equality, as any of his clerical brethren who officiated in a similar capacity in the ranks of Goring and Prince Rupert. He seems only to have looked upon the soldiers as a new set of parishioners, whom Providence had thrown in his way. The circumstances of his situation left him little choice in the matter. ‘I had,’ he says, ‘neither money nor friends. I knew not who would receive me in a place of safety, nor had I anything to satisfy them for diet and entertainment.’
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